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India flight tests nuclear-capable Agni-5 long-range ballistic missile

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India conducted a successful flight test of its Agni-5 long-range ballistic missile on Sunday, June 3, a Ministry of Defence release said, the sixth test of the indigenously developed nuclear-capable missile.

“The long range ballistic missile Agni 5 is successfully flight tested at 0945 hrs today from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island),” the release said. “All the Radars, Electro Optical Tracking Stations and Telemetry Stations tracked the vehicle all through the course of the trajectory. All the mission objectives have been achieved.”

Sunday’s launch was the sixth test launch of Agni-5. Citing an unnamed official, The Times of India reported that new technologies, including a Ring Laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System (RINS) and a Micro Inertial Navigation System (MINS), were tested.

Developed indigenously by the Defence Research & Development Organisation, the solid-fuelled Agni-5 is India’s most-advanced missile, and is claimed to be its first intercontinental ballistic missile. It was test fired for the first time in April 2012. The road-transportable canisterized version was first tested in January 2015.

Agni-5’s claimed range of more than 5,500 kilometres (about 3,400 miles) means it is capable of reaching parts of Africa and Europe and puts it on the threshold of intermediate range (up to 5,500 km) and intercontinental-class. The three-stage missile weighs about 49 metric tonnes and can carry a 1.5 tonne payload.

The Agni-5 was last flight tested in January.

India has conducted a number of missile tests in recent months.

In late May, the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was tested twice in two days.

In February, the nuclear-capable Dhanush short-range missile, the Prithvi-II short-range missile, the Agni-I medium-range missile and the Agni-II medium range ballistic missile were tested.

In December, DRDO declared as successful a launch of its Akash surface-to-air missile fitted with an indigenous seeker. A month earlier, DRDO said it conducted a successful test flight of the indigenously developed Nirbhay long-range sub-sonic cruise missile.

India’s gross defence budget expected to reach $112 bn by FY27: Report

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Initiatives to bolster India’s position as a major aerospace and defence power are expected to push Indias gross defence budget higher to $112 billion by FY27, revealed an Assocham-KPMG joint study.

According to the joint study report, India’s gross defence budget is expected to reach “$112 billion by FY27 from $45 bn announced by the government of India in 2018-19, owing to significant steps been taken by the centre to bolster the country’s position as a major aerospace and defence power”.

The study noted that while the 2018-19 budgetary increase was “a meagre 7.8 per cent over the previous year”, it is expected to clock an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 11 per cent until FY27.

However, the report raised concerns that about 10 per cent of the defence budget is surrendered “to Ministry of Defence (MoD) at the end of each financial year owing to underutilisation as the reserved budget is not mapped with capital acquisition”.

Besides, the report pointed out that the country’s capital expenditure for defence procurement is expected to exceed $250 bn over the next 10 years, primarily to replace the Soviet-era vintage equipment and meet the growing modernisation needs of the Indian armed forces.

“However, out of this the domestic industry would only be able to manufacture defence equipment worth just about $80 bn while the rest of it would have to be imported,” the report said.

“Thus, the study suggested the government to incentivise private enterprises for developing large scale research and development (R&D) and manufacturing capabilities.”

The joint study added that “a vibrant domestic manufacturing ecosystem that includes both public and private defence manufacturing entities is essential for success of ‘Make in India,’ in the defence sector”.

Soon New Aerospace & Defence Centre in India

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An advanced aerospace and defence technology centre will soon be set up at Patia here to provide skilled manpower, required by the industry, especially MSMEs, in aerospace and defence sector.

This high-tech technology centre, with testing and calibration facility, will facilitate the development of sophisticated systems required for the aerospace and defence industry. The foundation stone of the centre will be laid on August 1.

The centre will be started by Tzar Aerospace Research Labs founded by entrepreneur Priyam Mohanty.

The start-up based in Cuttack was started in 2016 to act as an catalyst in the development, exploration and commercialisation of emerging aerospace markets by providing innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to commercial, civil and military customers.

Mohanty said: “The centre will be set up here as the state has some of the best aerospace and defence industries and is the home to advanced research and development institutions such Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT), Integrated Test Range (ITR), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), and National Institute of Science Education and Research (Niser). There are several prestigious projects in progress and this would be right time to support their activities by promoting the MSME sector to enhance their competitiveness.”

The centre will train about 10,000 trainees in 10 years through various long and short term training programmes in the areas of light weighting of aerospace structures, material modelling, propulsion, additive manufacturing, 3D printing, hypersonic design and UAVs.

Trainees will work with the country’s leading researchers and scientists and assist around 100 MSMEs. They will work on design and development of sophisticated aerospace system and equipment and testing, calibration, including consultancy in the related fields.

ISRO Completes Phase-I Testing of Satellite Based Warning System at Unmanned Railway Crossings

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The trials for the phase-I of a satellite-based early warning system, to alert road users against approaching trains at unmanned level crossings of the Indian Railways network, have been completed successfully, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials said on Thursday. They said that the system is ready for implementation.

“The trial for Phase-I has finished…We have begun discussions with them (Indian Railways). They are very satisfied with the technology. They have seen it performing. They have seen its variants and so they are going to implement it soon,” said Tapan Misra, director of the Space Applications Centre (SAC), a crucial arm of ISRO.

Under the project, integrated circuit (IC) chips, developed by ISRO, will be installed on train engines. These chips will send a signal to hooters installed at the level crossings with the engine at a distance of four km from the crossing. These hooters, linked to the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) or NaVIC will become louder as trains approach the crossings and will fall silent once the trains have passed.

The Indian Express had earlier reported on the first trial run, conducted in February 2016, for developing this satellite-based system in Ahmedabad by SAC scientists. Later under the pilot project conducted on by the Indian Railways, these IC chips were installed on five trains, running on different routes. According to officials, the testing for the system has been underway for more than a year.

“This technology can work in any weather, including rains and harsh summer. This was one of the biggest challenges and we have emerged successful in all-weather operations,” Misra added.

The SAC director said that four private companies working in coordination with ISRO will provide this technology to the Indian Railways. “We expect Railways will buy this system in large numbers. There are over 11,000 unmanned level crossings on the Indian Railways network and this technology will go a long way in securing the same,” he added.

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